Crown couple ends Indonesian tour

Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit ended a three-day official trip to Indonesia on Wednesday with a visit to both Gadjah Mada university and the Borobudur temple in Yogyakarta, considered the country’s cultural heart.

Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit spent their last day in Indonesia this week visiting the ancient Borobudur temple. PHOTO: Kongehuset.no/Scanpix

Norway’s university system has had a cooperation with Gadjan Mada for 20 years, giving Norwegian students and researchers better possibilities to study and form ties to Indonesia. On Wednesday, Norwegian and Indonesian authorities signed an agreement to cooperate on research into power, welfare and democracy. The deans of Gadjah Mada and the Norwegian universities in Agder and Oslo also signed pacts on academic cooperation.

Crown Prince Haakon also spoke to students and employees at the university, not least about the Global Dignity organization in which he’s deeply involved. Then the couple visited the Borobudur temple built between 750 and 840AD.

Norwegian Trade Minister Trond Giske and Norway’s minister in charge of environmental issues, Bård Vegar Solhjell, were also along on the trip to Indonesia, during which the royals also promoted Norwegian seafood, met Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and his wife Ibu Ani and the secretary general of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Dr Surin Pitsuwan.

A large delegation of Norwegian businesses was also traveling with the crown couple, meeting Indonesian company representatives especially within the areas of renewable energy, gas, fisheries and trade.

The royal entourage was staying at the Hotel Shangri-La in Jakarta, where Norwegian police intelligence unit PST (Politiets sikkerhetstjeneste) had warned Norwegian participants against visiting the hotel’s nightclub. Crown Prince Haakon apparently hadn’t received the warning and went to the bar anyway, even though Norway’s ambassador to Indonesian also had cautioned that it might be frequented by prostitutes and criminals.

When asked about the crown prince’s round in the bar, both he and Crown Princess Mette-Marit laughed it off. “He was back in the room before midnight, so we can say that it went well,” Mette-Marit told reporters. It’s the second time in recent months that the couple either didn’t register or ignored PST warnings, after Mette-Marit’s son Marius also distributed private family photos depicting their locations, against PST’s security advice. The couple later reacted angrily to how Norwegian media reported the photo-sharing over social media.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund

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